Announcing the Student Teams Competing for $310,000 in the…
Skip to content

i-lab Stories

Announcing the Student Teams Competing for $310,000 in the President’s Innovation Challenge

Black and white photograph of a Harvard Innovation Labs team holding the Hi logo

Ever since opening the Harvard Innovation Labs doors in 2011, we committed to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship at Harvard across all stages and industries, from a college freshman just beginning to explore ideas for solving a healthcare problem to a grad student building a consumer product venture. Over the years, this commitment has led to the creation of a number of new programs and resources, such as the AR/VR Studio and Media Studio, the Harvard Life Lab, and the Launch Lab X accelerator program for Harvard alumni.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce another way that the Harvard Innovation Labs will resource students as they explore innovation and entrepreneurship. This spring, the Harvard Innovation Labs will for the first time run two programs for student entrepreneurs as part of the Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge.

As in previous years, the Harvard Innovation Labs will run the Spring Venture Incubation Program (VIP), which is for Harvard student-led teams whose ventures are at a stage where they can benefit from additional resources. This 12-week program offers access to a dedicated i-lab advisor, exclusive office hours with guest experts, founders’ dinners with visiting entrepreneurs, and more. The Spring VIP teams are also semi-finalists in the Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge, which encourages students to create ventures that address to pressing issues facing the world, and awards seed money to the top teams in several categories. As part of the PIC, the students ventures will compete for $300,000 in funding, with prize money provided by the Bertarelli Foundation.

We continue to receive incredible interest in the VIP, with more than 400 student teams applying this year. We accepted 93 teams into the VIP, and welcomed the other 300 students into Connect, a new program to support students who are at the earliest stages of building their ventures. Connect participants will be eligible to compete for the newly-created President’s Innovation Challenge Ingenuity Awards, $10,000 in prizes for ideas with the potential to become world-changing—even if they are not yet fully formed ventures.

Below you’ll find descriptions of the 93 teams accepted into the Spring VIP. The teams represent a broad diversity of industries: 30% are focused on social impact, cultural entrepreneurship or education; 24% on consumer products or services; 22% on health and sciences; and 24% on enterprise or high tech. The startup founders come from all 12 Harvard schools, an excellent reflection of the One Harvard vision to foster collaboration across the entire Harvard community.

We’re also thrilled to report that this spring, 54% of the VIP teams have a female co-founder. The Harvard Innovation Labs is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all entrepreneurs and innovators, and we look forward to seeing what this spring’s cohort accomplishes in the coming months.

B2B/High Tech

  • AirCrew - AirCrew is developing novel materials for catalytic decomposition of air pollutants in order to make clean air accessible and affordable globally.
  • DeepRE.ML - We are an AI service providing commercial real estate professionals with real time market pricing insights and asset growth prediction modeling.
  • Dexai Robotics - Dexai Robotics makes fresh food affordable and accessible by providing a plug-and-play robot-arm automation solution for commercial kitchens.
  • Elios - An alert service for early signs of employee risk.
  • EuMotus - A camera-based AI-empowered movement analysis system that helps physical therapists and athletic trainers better treat physical health.
  • Greener - Greener is a technology platform that uses sensors and advanced analytics to increase grower profitability through reducing energy usage.
  • HardPass - HardPass secures your digital life by amplifying the security of your passwords while avoiding the security issues of popular password managers.
  • Hellofriend - From house parties to city tours, find unique and authentic local experiences around your location with Hellofriend. Become a host and earn money!
  • Inkrypt - The Anonymous Decentralized Cloud
  • Loro - Loro is a smart companion robot that gives people with mobility challenges the ability to connect, communicate, and control their surroundings.
  • Matrio - A development platform and marketplace to create and share cloud apps.
  • MyToolbox Technologies - A labor marketplace for skilled blue collar workers, offering them a platform to secure jobs, manage licenses, and access basic financial services.
  • nEurostep - Enabling data-driven decision-making in sports by delivering novel insights based on high-resolution player tracking data and deep learning.
  • Overjet - We use AI to analyze dental patient data and provide an unbiased diagnosis and treatment plan proposal.
  • Pinned - Our product provides a streamlined service that simplifies pre- and post-moving tasks for employees relocating for work.
  • - We deliver Amazon-quality AI to B2B distributors that predicts what customers will buy, driving revenue growth and improving the customer experience.
  • ReThink - ReThink is a patented app that detects online hate and gives users a second chance to reconsider the decision to post or send offensive messages.
  • SECURE - Personal safety device that uses low-power, wide-area networks to send GPS data kilometers, and emits a body alarm to make safety convenient and reliable.
  • smoodi - We make employees happier and healthier with personalized, fresh smoothies through our self-cleaning blender. Imagine a Keurig for smoothies!
  • Translo - A patient-centric biomedical data sharing platform built to accelerate clinical trials.
  • Trill Project - Trill Project is an anonymous, safe, and highly secure social networking community centered around peer-support models.
  • TurnTable - We build software to help restaurants to turn tables faster.


  • bao - Stylish, multi-use and sustainable handbags that flatter but also matter. Handmade by women for women who want both the sustainability and the chicness
  • Bundle - We provide back-up/flexible child care as an employee benefit for working parents, helping employers reduce absenteeism and attract and retain talent.
  • Chord - Chord allows people to buy a home in increments, building ownership at their pace, and unlocking a new vehicle for institutional investment.
  • Cresicor - We build software to help consumer packaged food companies better manage their business.
  • DetailedBeauty - DetailedBeauty aims to acknowledge, celebrate, and compliment the beautiful everyday models of the world by creating premium quality makeup products.
  • Diva - Diva is an educational app that changes the way people learn and practice singing by providing personalized feedback and lessons.
  • FooFii - FooFii (“foo-fee”) is an information sharing platform that makes it easy to connect people to food access resources.
  • GoPay - GoPay is a currency exchange platform that helps international students pay their school fees.
  • Honeybird - Honeybird creates products to support stress relief and better sleep. Our first product is a weighted blanket designed to be ~10% of your body weight.
  • Hyka - Hyka is a wearable device that uses validated technology and a companion app to empower individuals to understand and improve their mental wellbeing.
  • Lesson Squad - Lesson Squad empowers music educators to make a living through teaching with a platform that automates student acquisition, scheduling and payments.
  • LeverEdge - LeverEdge uses group buying power to get lower loan rates for students.
  • Nature Buddy - A technology platform to promote green spaces in urban settings to combat climate change & pollution, grow your own food and mainstream nature.
  • Pillow Fort - We create personalized and customizable books for 2-6-year-olds.
  • prettychill - We deliver healthy, frozen plant-based meals that are free of gluten and dairy—each in a portable and microwavable bowl—straight to your door.
  • Project Valentine - 38 million conversations, stories, and debates in your pocket.
  • ReMana - ReMana is reinventing the way women pump, store and feed their breastmilk, through reusable bottles designed for efficient storage in the freezer.
  • Settlyt - Challenges, disputes, competitions, and dares. One simple platform to facilitate them all!
  • The Key - “The Key” is a vetted, high-level professional networking and job platform for the next generation of leaders, using next-generation technology.
  • Venuefly - Venuefly allows people to host cool events in cool spaces. Our platform allows customers to throw an awesome party with the ease of a click.
  • Vincere Health - We use real-time financial rewards and behavioral nudges to motivate people to live healthier lives.
  • Voodles - Voodles is reinventing the way kids eat veggies! Our vegetable-based pasta comes in three flavors: cauliflower & corn, beet & carrot, and broccoli & pea.

Health and Life Sciences

  • Aikili Biosystems - For breast cancer patients who lack access to effective diagnosis, Aikili provides a low cost, automated, accurate diagnosis at the point-of-care.
  • AquaPlastic - Biodegradable BioPlastic produced from Microbial Biofilms-based Aquagel, which is AquaWeldable, AquaMoldable, strong, robust, imprintable and coatable.
  • Epigene Labs - Smart aggregation of genomic data for drug discovery in oncology.
  • Flotherm - Flotherm is a clinically superior way to maintain normothermia during surgery that helps reduce post-operative complications and avoidable expenditure.
  • g.Root Biomedical Services - g.Root is a biotech company that uses AI to help cancer patients uncover personalized medicines based on their personal gene mutations.
  • GC Therapeutics - GCTx is revolutionizing cell therapy by building a cell engineering platform to make customized therapeutics tailored to target hard-to-cure diseases.
  • Gencores - Concussion has become a major public health concern. We reduce the risk of concussion using smart material design for helmets.
  • Hour72+ - We have created a non-DEET based insect repellent that lasts up to 3 days with a single use, through which we hope to prevent millions of deaths.
  • Kallier Biosciences - We’re identifying beneficial bacteria from agricultural soil to build farm-personalized treatments to fight crop disease.
  • Kinnos - Kinnos is raising the standard of infectious disease decontamination to protect the lives of healthcare workers and patients.
  • Knot - Knot is a digital platform for doctors to store, analyze, and share educational content from patient cases to improve training and reduce workload
  • Koldchain - Koldchain's blends big data & thermosensitive polymers to monitor vaccine & biotech cold chains, prevent fraud, and address infant/mother mortality.
  • Limax Biosciences - Strong, stretchy, and flexible hydrogel adhesive platform, based on bio-inspired materials, to seal wounds and promote healing throughout the body.
  • Manifold Bio - We combine DNA technologies and machine learning to make protein drugs to cure intractable diseases.
  • Memora Health - Memora Health builds workflow productivity software for health care organizations to automate and scale outpatient communication.
  • MindMics - We are building a technology platform to help people better manage physical and emotional well-being by proving integrated solution of smart earbuds.
  • PathVision - PathVision developed an AI-driven precision medicine platform to replace traditional genetic testing with a 5 second, low-cost alternative.
  • Petrichor - “Smell” the hazard with Petrichor: A revolutionary AI-driven chemical sensor for safer transportation of petroleum and chemical waste.
  • PionEar Technologies - PionEar Technologies is revolutionizing the treatment of ear infections with anti-biofouling ear tube implants with unique drug transport capabilities.
  • Theraplexus - Rapid, low-cost drug discovery with network science analytics and AI. We uncover new therapeutics, with a focus on heart and lung diseases.
  • Visionairy Health - VH develops an automated screening solution for chest radiographs to reduce radiologists’ workload and increase their efficiency.

Social Impact

  • A Better Future - ABF Aims to Become the world’s leading cross-sector talents sharing platform.
  • afyakit - afyakit is powering cheaper, better-informed care delivery by providing actionable, right-level analytics to health managers across Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • BeenThere - BeenThere provides accessible online 1-on-1 peer counseling services for Chinese consumers in a sub-healthy mental state to prevent mental disease.
  • Boost Finance - Boost Finance is a financial data platform that empowers employers to expand smart cash transfers, the worker benefit for a better future of work.
  • CareerCombo - CareerCombo is a career exploration platform that helps young adults both discover and plan for real careers that combine their different passions.
  • Coding it Forward - Coding it Forward is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit breaking down barriers into social impact technology, including with its Civic Digital Fellowship.
  • Conversational - Conversational is a real-world platform offering immersive spoken language experiences for foreign language learners and speakers in the US.
  • Debate Spaces - We are a nonprofit that teaches debate, fosters activism, and facilitates friendships among middle school students from disparate backgrounds.
  • DreamxAmerica - DreamxAmerica is a social enterprise joining storytelling and impact investing to support immigrant entrepreneurs in towns and cities across America.
  • Forerunner - Forerunner is a platform that enables and incentivizes cities to engage in climate adaptation planning.
  • Green Screen - Green Screen is a passive cooling panel made entirely from agricultural waste for use in the slums of Delhi, India.
  • Growing Communities - Integrate backyard farming technology & a distributed agriculture model to commercially grow vegetables in economically challenged communities.
  • HERA: Health Recording Application - HERA is a mobile application that sends notifications for timely medical care and keeps electronic medical records of refugee women in Turkey.
  • Hikma Health - Hikma is a health data platform that integrates predictive models and decision support tools into an accessible system for refugees and their doctors.
  • ImmerLearn - ImmerLearn helps social and public sector organizations improve their decision-making by developing data analytics software
  • InCommon - Our app provides an easy way for people in mental distress to find a listening ear at the push of a button, particularly for those facing addiction.
  • Jamii - Affordable preventative screening/diagnostics and in-home care for people who can’t care for themselves in South Africa, and eventually across Africa.
  • JustFix - JustFix supports tenants facing landlord harassment and neglected housing conditions with technology to build well-documented legal cases.
  • Khushi Baby - We are building a health system around a physical, digital health record that travels with patients.
  • MDaaS Global - MDaaS Global builds and operates modern, tech-enabled diagnostic centers to provide healthcare for Africa's next billion.
  • Moby - Moby is a SMS chatbot for community health workers in developing countries to manage patients and supplies.
  • mopi - mopi empowers community mothers to help children ages 0-4 reach their full potential by creating a network of home-based daycare centers in Brazil.
  • Nearsighted Globe - A novel, affordable and sustainable approach for diagnosis and distribution of glasses for visually impaired in less privileged areas.
  • New Teachers Thriving - There are more than 200,000 first-year teachers. Tens of thousands will quit. It’s a crisis. We provide trainings to help districts fix this problem.
  • Pre-Scientist - Pre-Scientist connects students with real scientists to demystify STEM careers and empower all students to see themselves as future scientists.
  • Rise: the membership - Rise: the membership supports 20-something women transition from academia to professional life through learning content, mentorship & community.
  • Thrively Health - Thrively Health is a digital platform for family health that empowers women in engaging with supportive services for improved life trajectories.
  • Zimba Water - We make clean drinking water the default option at water sources in remote communities, through one of the cheapest scientifically-verified methods.